Strathdee’s recognition as one of TIME’s 50 Most Influential People in Health Care is unquestionably well-deserved; as this...

THE PERFECT PREDATOR

A SCIENTIST'S RACE TO SAVE HER HUSBAND FROM A DEADLY SUPERBUG: A MEMOIR

A real-life medical thriller that proves when science, medicine, and perseverance align, “the impossible becomes possible.”

In 2015, infectious disease epidemiologist Strathdee (Global Health Sciences/Univ. of California, San Diego School of Medicine) and her husband, Patterson, a psychologist, were on vacation in Egypt when he was infected with one of the deadliest antibiotic-resistant superbugs on the planet. In a few terrifying days, his health deteriorated to the point where it was uncertain whether modern medicine could help him. As Strathdee writes, “Tom was quickly becoming the poster child for the dystopian future of the post-antibiotic age.” In this fast-paced memoir, the authors describe how Strathdee scoured scientific history and identified an unconventional cure: phage therapy, in which a virus is utilized as a bacterial killer. The catch was that phage therapy hadn’t been used in the United States in nearly a century, and no one knew how to find the right virus, purify it to meet FDA standards, and administer it safely. Miraculously, Strathdee overcame every one of these obstacles with the help of kindhearted and intrepid researchers from around the world. Despite the potential heartbreak that lurks within every chapter, the writing is always infused with humor, hope, and intelligence, and the couple’s remarkable story is grounded in real-life details that bring readers directly into their world: desperate late-night emails to people who might help, on-the-fly Googling of critical care lingo, impromptu dance parties at Tom’s bedside. The book also includes dark, surreal poetic interludes from Patterson’s perspective, providing a glimpse into the patient’s mindset, an interesting contrast to the chronicle of his wife’s relentless effort to save him.

Strathdee’s recognition as one of TIME’s 50 Most Influential People in Health Care is unquestionably well-deserved; as this page-turning book shows, she is a hero whose insight and determination could serve as models to help save many more lives.

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-41808-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Hachette

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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